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September 21, 2015

Book 31 of 2015

OscarOscar by D. L. Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love animals so the cover of this book with that gorgeous picture of the Collie (mix?) really grabbed my attention. 'Oscar' by D.L. Smith is a short (64 pages, 619 KB) Children's Book that was enjoyed by all of us here from ages 6 to 60 and it is told in the first dog. What I mean is the story is told as if the dog is telling it, the dog's perspective of what is happening all around him.

Oscar the dog had a very hard beginning in life from the day he was born. His intended fate and those of his brothers and sisters happen all too often and is totally believable. Lucky for Oscar, he was found by a little girl on her way home from school and the family nurtured and cared for Oscar. As Oscar grows and meets new challenges, including the interaction with other people and animals which is adorable, and what to do and not do, the proper 'training' is enforced so Oscar learns new skills and has new freedoms. Unfortunately, once again Oscar is faced with possible death due to an accident which shows that no matter how careful you try and be or how much love you give/have, accidents happen.

What I love about this story is that not only does it make the reader aware about how some people are cruel, it focuses on the love and caring of others. It doesn't sugar-coat the bad but instead it focused on a particular family (and friends) that talk about and share the responsibility of the proper care for, and of, Oscar as he grows. I especially liked that the family discussed how certain things can confuse a dog if you're not consistent with the training and how some methods are just not the right option and can be dangerous so other methods should be used. It also brings the dog to life as a thinking, feeling, creature and should be treated as such.

It also portrays a realistic family. The characters although they are not deeply developed since this is a children's book and the main character is the dog, the family is basically a typical family found anywhere: the children argue, they play, they have their likes and dislikes. Even they grow up along with Oscar (they follow the same timeline in human years) and although Oscar can't go with them everywhere they go, he is still every bit a part of the family.

I recommend this book to every family who has or is thinking of getting a dog. Also, to those who just like reading a cute, well told story with valuable lessons that promote thinking and discussion.

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September 15, 2015

Book 30 of 2015

Danny Boyle and the Ghosts of IrelandDanny Boyle and the Ghosts of Ireland by William Graham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Danny Boyle and the Ghosts of Ireland by William Graham apparently is the second book about the adventures of Danny Boyle and it is a stand alone book. I didn't read the first book and didn't even know there was one until I went to write this review so don't pass by this book thinking you need to read the first one. I see it listed as a Children's fiction that would fall into the genre of adventure, action, and supernatural.

The book is in chapters which are short and well thought out to keep the story flowing in a natural time line. Each of these chapters are packed with adventure and really holds the reader interested. I am not sure exactly what age this book is geared towards but both my 6 and 8 year old grandchildren loved it.

The book is about a vacation to Ireland that Danny's family takes and the hotel they stayed at is haunted. Danny and his sister end up learning about 'good' ghosts and 'bad' ghosts which is when the true adventure starts as they try and help the good ghosts. Both Danny and Melinda sound like typical siblings with the way they act toward each other and are believable characters. The plot is simple and easy to follow, the book pace is fast, and the characters are developed lightly so it is an easy read and understanding for even the 6 year old. Since it is not a geography book it doesn't cover the area in any kind of depth but some things are mentioned so the children learn a little about Ireland too. There are no 'questionable' language in the book and is children friendly.

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